June Travels

 


June was a good busy month. The weather was mostly nice, I feel productive, and not too many issues. It started off with the belated graduation ceremonies aftermath of many old colleagues getting sick (post the great gatherings), and later ended with a trip to Seattle, Michigan, and then back to Boston. I like to think that things are in balance in my life and I worry about the state of things beyond my tiny bubble. I worry about the nature of the content I read, watch, and listen. I wonder about the targeted advertisements I receive. But in general, life is good. I was in Seattle to visit a subcontractor on a program my company is working on. The company works on a variety of outdoor and expeditionary equipment. I had a good time visiting their facilities and seeing the city. I found the manufacturing aspects of this subcontractor particularly interesting since Physical Sciences is primarily focused on the R&D side of products. I saw staff hard at work on CNC machines, presses, fume hoods, etc. In the city, I visited some friends from college and we got some food and drinks. I was welcomed into the home of a friend and I am very thankful for all their hospitality I received. When I left Seattle I was already quite tired, when I landed in Michigan I hardly made it back to my mom's house before falling asleep. I picked up Ally a few hours later and we enjoyed a short vacation. She helped argue for me to put my work laptop down and I did so most of the time (I did send one email). On the third day in the Midwest, we drove down to Ohio to visit the rollercoaster theme park, Cedar Point. It was a blast and I tried to disassociate on the top of each ride so I wouldn't calculate the odds of a fatality incident as the g-force hit my body. Back in MA, things are back to the routine again for my better health. Travels are great, for some time.


Mom's new puppy Phoebe


Photo of side street in Seattle International District with Mt Rainier off in the distance

Vacation to Montreal and Acadia

 


This past Easter weekend, Ally and I drove from Boston to Montreal for two days and then drove to Acadia National Park for another two days. It was a great vacation and we got a lot of steps under our feet even with 17 hrs of combined driving. The idea of this vacation was rather spontaneous. A few weeks ago, we discussed the idea of going out on a little trip since she had a few days off from work. In the beginning of the conversation, we considered NYC, DC, and more southern cities to get a bit more warmth and sun. However, the idea of visiting a city with a different language and a national park won over those ideas. 

We spent our time in Montreal asking people in cafes if they spoke English; we also visited the Notre Dame cathedral, old Montreal, Mont Royale, the great subway system, and a few public markets as well as an art museum. 

We left late on Sunday and drove straight to a rest stop outside Bangor, Maine. There was a three hour stretch of time where we were in the middle-of-nowhere with deep, thick pine forests all around us. As the sun set over the forests, we saw large mountains off in the distance. At the rest stop we slept in the back of the car and then visited a Denny's in the morning. Following this hearty breakfast, we hiked two mountains at the park (including some rock faces) and we were amazed by the views. The following morning we got up early to summit mount Cadillac at sunrise. We took the north ridge trail up the mountain and it was astounding.

Great trip :)





Vacation in Wales

 


I spent the last two days in Wales MA with good friends. We shared meals, played games, and caught up on each other's personal lives. Not all that long ago we lived together in the same house in Somerville, commiserating about the pandemic, while we transitioned from undergraduate life into new endeavors. This time at a cottage on the lake was a reunion of sorts, like those older days, but with more cozy blankets. I'm glad to have good friends in these folks and look forward to a hopefully periodic chance to meet again and continue conversations and tales throughout the years to come. In the car ride back to Boston, some of us reflected on the reality that making new friends in the era of the pandemic and as young adults is hard. It makes me grateful to know a good bunch of folks.

New weekend's packed as well; a show at the Royale, some time at a recording studio, and a few hours at a research facility. 



We visited Treehouse Brewery and grabbed a few pints while we were out.


Front yard view of the cottage





Two Books and New Years Tacos


I made some pork tacos for New Years Eve. I invited a friend over and we talked about life, the current state of things, and motivations. I put the ABC television broadcast on mute and sat back with some tunes. At one point, after the tacos were put down, we went for a walk about the neighborhood. I did not want to go into a bar that night for a few reasons, one of which being that many of my friends currently have Omicron. I would rather get my steps in, breath the brisk air, and hold conversation with a pal instead of paying $20 for a cuba libre and getting sick. As the clock ticked to midnight, I was playing around with a string of LEDs and a microcontroller. I did some art and fell to sleep.

In the meantime, I read Stoner by John Williams and Anthem by Rand. I endorse the concepts in neither. Stoner is a great read and certainly worthy of the 'great american novel' esc praise I read about it. Anthem was on the bookshelf.


Slow cooker ready. Came out a bit dry at 8 hours. Maybe try pressure cooking next time?




Guinea pigs that I take care of with Ally, The one in front is Juniper. The one in back is Bear.

 

Embarking on an aural journey

 

An excerpt from the book

Tired of the automatic preference suggestions? Spotify daily mixes? Pandora/XM/iHeart radio? 

I have been feeling like I hear the same ole tunes week after week. Like reruns of The Office for some others, it can make one feel like they are living in an audio roundabout. In a new turn of events, I have decided to start listening to a new album each day from the book 1001 albums you must hear before you die. The list is put in chronological order online in a csv format for ease of marking down which ones I have already heard. Since I spend about an hour in the car on my commute anyways, might as well get some culture time in right?

1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die is a musical reference book first published in 2005 by Universe Publishing. Part of the 1001 Before You Die series, it compiles writings and information on albums chosen by a panel of music critics to be the most important, influential, and best in popular music between the 1950s and the 2010s. The book is edited by Robert Dimery, an English writer and editor who had previously worked for magazines such as Time Out and Vogue.
Each entry in the book's roughly chronological list of albums is accompanied by a short essay written by a music critic, along with pictures, quotes, and additional information (such as the album's running time and producer). Compilations of various artists, and most film soundtracks, are excluded.[3]

Half Marathon in Lowell

 

On October 17th, almost two weeks ago, I ran a half marathon. The path to running the race started with a conversation in August with my colleague Andrew. He ran on a cross country team in college and he wanted to try running a marathon. He motivated me to sign up for the race and gave me a few tips for running. I trained with a 1 mile run most weekdays and a long run on weekends. Before the race, the longest run I went for was about 10 miles. The race was the Baystate Marathon in Lowell, MA. It was exciting to start in such a massive crowd herded down a main throughway of the city of Lowell. As the race progressed, the herd slowly thinned out along the miles of track into a trickle of people. I am glad I did not encounter any serious pain or injury during the long trek. I was thankful for my headphones and the playlists I set up before the race. Once I was able to disassociate a bit, the time went by a little easier. When I came to the final turn towards the finish line, a small burst of energy came up from nowhere and allowed me to speed up a bit for the last 100 yards. Perhaps it was the casual cheers from passing strangers on the sidewalk. People who I did not know saying 'you got this' or 'just a bit further' was actually quite nice and helpful when I was that tired. Ally drove me home afterwards as I rubbed my feet.


After the race, I had a warm cup of coffee and a cold brown ale. Some people might avoid such a combination but I welcomed it. As I recovered, Ally and I built a chest of drawers from a popular Swedish furniture store.



Tired and wind whipped me holding my medal and foil blanket after the race. 




June Travels

  June was a good busy month. The weather was mostly nice, I feel productive, and not too many issues. It started off with the belated gradu...